I made a foolish decision today which I'm feeling very guilty about (so if you're reading this spare the "you should've known better comments" unless you'd like me to ignore you for the rest of my life). I figure I should document it though so I don't make it again. Our instructor was incapacitated and unable to come in and teach today so I asked if my daughter could do a practice ride on Tiny. I couldn't find Tiny's saddle though and was worried that putting the other pony's saddle on her would be a terrible idea because it was much bigger and would likely irritate the cranky pony more than necessary. So, I suggested to my daughter she try riding bareback while I led Tiny on the lead rope. I told her if Tiny got too jumpy she could just jump off. Well, Tiny was fine once around the arena, the bucked my daughter off and galloped off. This time instead of falling down and laughing, she landed on her head, crumpled in on herself and started crying hysterically in that way that I know she's not just trying to get attention, she is actually in a lot of pain.
I went and caught Tiny and tied her to the arena wall then picked up my daughter and surveyed the damage. She kept screaming that her nose was broken but when I got her to take her face out from being buried in my shoulder I could tell it wasn't. I asked her about pain and if it hurt with movement or breathing and she screamed that it did, but then when I would change the subject to help her calm down I listened to her breathing and noticed she wasn't showing any pain upon breathing which was a relief. I took her back to the car and left Tiny in the arena until my daughter was settled. I tried cracking open a cold pack that we keep in the first aid kit in the car but it was too old and didn't work anymore. Watching me fumble with it seemed to distract my daughter from her pain and she started relaxing and I noticed she wasn't having any pain with movement.
I put Tiny away and didn't scream and beat her like I felt like. Then I saw the owner of the stable and told him what happened and said I felt like a terrible parent who made terrible decisions and he asked with concern, "Is she injured? Do you need help getting her to the doctor?" and I said, "No, she's just bruised up and it was really scary for her," and he said, "Well, kids fall off horses. Especially bratty little ponies. It happens." Then he went to talk to her while I stopped to talk to his wife (she was worried too) and he came back and I saw my daughter was laughing (and didn't show any signs of pain) and the owner said, "Thank goodness I don't have to pull out my knife and operate. I think your daughter is happy about that too!"
We went to the drug store and bought some new portable cold packs then went to the drive through at McDonalds. I got some sort of rope burn on my finger from the lead rope whipping out of my hand. It seriously looks (and feels like) a second degree burn. I am regretting that I didn't remember to put on my swanky new riding gloves. After McDonalds and a movie on Netflix my daughter's been jumping on the couch and dancing around and talking about how tomorrow she's going to spend the whole day in her pj's to "recover" (ironic that she's saying that while jumping on the couch). I still feel guilty though like I should've known better. But then I felt guilty when she got her tonsils out like it was my fault the recovery was so hard - or it was my fault for taking her to the doctor in the first place who discovered they needed to come out. Urgh.
But after my recent experience of falling off a horse and not feeling sore at all the first evening and just a little the next day so that I ended up totally over doing it, I told my daughter that this weekend she's not to be riding horses or her scooter or bike, just chilling out and not stressing any of her upper body muscles. Just like me. Just like Sinatra. Three over-energetic, nervous-energy creatures having to take it easy this weekend. And as for me, my lesson from all this is that my daughter is not going to ride Tiny unless my instructor is present because she is a bratty little pony and only seems to listen to my instructor. I'm wondering if my daughter is going to want to ride horses again? It sounds like she is even though she's angry with Tiny. The terrified mom in me now never wants her to even get on a horse again without an eventing vest. Why why why did I think it would be great for my daughter to ride horses with me? I think I'd rather she stuck to rock climbing until we can figure out a way to attach a belay rope to her while she's on a horse!
Meanwhile, Sinatra is still doing well. I took him out for a short walk again today and again he was not ancy or super amped up at all. He seems to really like his barn mates and seems to especially like Rhodi the mare next door. He was quiet in his stall and did not rush to go out the door at all again when I went in today. He wanted to eat some grass on our walk but we didn't have much time and I wanted him to stretch his legs a little so we had to skip that and it was the only thing we disagreed on. He was once again completely fascinated by the puddles in the driveway. Somewhere a few blocks away someone was riding a really loud dirt bike and made him stop and point his ears up and freeze in that "this is how I spook" way that Girlfriend does (the easy kind that doesn't involve rearing and bolting). I told him calmly it wasn't a scary noise and scratched his neck and he relaxed and within a minute didn't seem to care anymore. Very impressive. He's a hardy kid and I like that!
He balked again going into the stall. Jaime from S.A.F.E had given me some advice on how to deal with that without having to resort to bribing for treats so I took her advice. And it almost worked but didn't quite work. He moved forward then stopped part way in, then backed out quickly. I walked him up and down the aisle once and got him in a direction where we wouldn't have to make much of a corner, we could just walk straight in and he still balked. Gemini's owner was standing there and said something along the lines of not having any advice. I said if she had any ideas I would love to hear them and she said she'd never run into this situation before. So, I put a carrot in my jeans pocket and this time Sinatra walked right in with me.
That's when Gemini's owner pointed something out to me. She said that I walked with purpose up to the stall door but then right when I get to the stall door I pause - just for a moment, like I'm hesitating. And that's when Sinatra stops. I was so surprised I had to ask, "Seriously? I'm pausing before him?" because I didn't even realize it. And she said it was only for a split second she could see me walk forward then hesitate for just a split second then walk forward again. Like I'm anticipating him balking at the stall door! But when I put the carrot in my jeans pocket I didn't pause at all I just kept walking forward. Wow! I would never have picked up on that because I didn't realize I was doing it - I had to have someone standing right there outside of the situation see it and point it out.
I will be very curious to see how it goes tomorrow when he goes back to his stall when I make a very conscious effort not to pause at the doorway. And I'm going to wear my riding gloves. From now on no more lunge lines, lead ropes or reins in my hands without riding gloves. Other than that, he seems like he's adjusting quickly and liking his new digs.